One of the perks of my partner’s job is that we frequently attend music festivals during the summer. Electric Picnic (EP), Ireland’s largest festival, is usually a sold out event. 2019 was no exception. While listening to an EP related Spotify playlist a few weeks before the event, I discovered Sons of Kemet. I love jazz but I’d never heard of this band. I couldn’t believe my ears as the notes filled my kitchen!
Their music is the most interesting phenomenon I’ve come across in a long while; it’s exciting, energetic, and original. Many genres are fused and the music defies expectations. It refuses to be contained or restricted by labels. Much of the music is instrumental, and when lyrics do appear, they are thought provoking, almost revolutionary.
The saxophone’s role has long been to sing the inexpressible: Hutchings’s sax voice is a rabble-rousing preacher-rapper-shaman-academic, testifying joy, outrage, wisdom and most points in between. What he purposely forgoes in nuanced mood with Sons of Kemet, he more than makes up for in blazing dominance; the most obvious co-figurehead of the woke fusion, LA’s Kamasi Washington, is a virtual daisy-sniffer compared with Hutchings’s constant energy….
“The path to the decolonisation of the mind is to take into account what myths surround you,” Hutchings says (echoing, among others, Yuval Noah Harari, who is also preoccupied with the myths that humanity sells itself). There’s a plea to get past racism and misogyny, towards “what can you envision past the reality you see”.Kitty Empire’s piece Sons of Kemet Review– blown away by a fiery black history lesson
I made it my business to be at the Sons of Kemet gig in the Cosby Tent on the Saturday night of Electric Picnic, and I was not disappointed! I have to see this band again. Think ecstatic dance, electrifying energy, a force of nature… I am their new biggest fan!!!
Another amazing musical memory occurred at the festival. My daughter and I braved the sea of people at the main stage and slowly made our way close to the front. The crowd of young people was actually quite hostile- unusual in my experience- and we would have been better off staying in the bleachers. My daughter was determined, however, to get as close to her idol as possible. Unfortunately it was hard to hear Billie Elish because the hoards of drunk people around us were also singing and drowned her out. Everyone had their phones out making it hard to actually see her except for on the big screen. I’m guilty of taking mine out to try to catch this photo of her and Finneas (her brother and fellow band member). They’re so talented and gave a great performance! Best of all was sharing this experience with my daughter who knows every single song from both albums by heart.
I very much enjoyed seeing Florence and the Machine perform again as well as Christine and the Queens. Honestly I am spoiled. I saw Patti Smith perform at All Together Now in August and she was AWESOME! Bob Marley’s band The Wailers also performed, and I had an incredible time dancing in the rain with my friend (and fellow Zumba instructor) Siobhán. I witnessed amazing talent on the new Global Roots Stage, and it was refreshing to see more world music included in the Irish festival scene. All in all, it was one of my most memorable years musically!
What bands inspired you during 2019? I’m always on the lookout for new discoveries- I have broad musical tastes- so please leave suggestions in the comments section.
This post was inspired by the prompt for Day 5. To participate or find out more information about #Manifest20 click here: What musical discovery did you make this year? Share a memory involving music or tell us what artist or song would feature on the soundtrack of your life for 2019?
Featured Photo Credit (saxophone): Jens Thekkeveettil